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Full text of "A history of Persia"

THE PERSO-AFGHAN QUESTION      449
nefas. However this may be, the regrets which the
traveller feels when visiting the charming gardens and
pavilions of Fin are rendered more poignant when he
reflects that, had this Minister governed for twenty years,
he might have trained up some honest, capable men to
succeed him. The death of the Amir-i-Nizam was, indeed,
a calamity for Persia ; for it arrested the progress which
had been so painfully achieved and, as the near future
was to prove, it had an equally disastrous effect on her
external relations.
The Herat Question^ 1851-1853.—Yar Mohamed Khan,
who had successfully maintained the independence of
Herat against Persia and the Barakzais of Kabul and
Kandahar, died in 1851. He was succeeded by his son,
Said Mohamed, a dissolute and almost imbecile youth,
who, in order to strengthen his position at home, where
his incapacity had raised up a host of enemies, opened up
negotiations with Persia. This action affected the British
Government, and two years later a treaty was imposed
on Persia by the terms of which that power " engaged not
to send troops on any account to the territory of Herat,
excepting when troops from without attack the place."*
Although Persia agreed to sign this treaty, there is no
doubt that it was unpalatable to the Shah and was not
without its influence on the events which followed.
Russian Negotiations with Persia^ 1853-1855.—In the
autumn of 1853 Prince Dolgoruki made secret proposals to
the Shah that Persia should co-operate with Russia against
Turkey. This was to be effected in the first instance by
collecting forces to threaten Erzeroum and Baghdad from
Azerbaijan and Irak respectively, and then, if it appeared
advisable, by declaring war and invading the Ottoman
dominions from both these bases. It was agreed that, in
the event of success, the territory seized by Persia should
be either retained by that power or given back to Turkey
upon payment. As a further inducement to accept this
tempting offer, the Tsar promised, if war were declared,
to remit the balance of the Turkomanchai indemnity ; and,
if only a demonstration were made, the entire cost would
1 ditchison's Treaties, No. XVII. p. 71.
VOL. II                                                                              2, G